Sister Rocks-Trapper Creek Loop 10-30-17

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bobcat
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Sister Rocks-Trapper Creek Loop 10-30-17

Post by bobcat » November 2nd, 2017, 9:52 am

I got a late start on the day and chose this short loop mainly to explore a couple of connecting routes that have been mentioned in trip reports over the years. Beginning at the Observation Peak Trailhead, I hiked up the slope through the Sisters Rocks Research Natural Area, which is contiguous with the Trapper Creek Wilderness. The research area was established to study silver fir climax forest and, sure enough, there were new spray-stenciled numbers on some conifers near the trail, all silver firs. Silver fir is a shade tolerant tree preferring moister slopes. It flourishes in the understory, and in some areas establishes dominance after the canopy trees, such as Douglas-fir, are gone. Once a silver fir canopy is in place, other species, not being as shade tolerant, are unable to survive.
Silver fir study, Observation Peak Trail.jpg
View to Mt. Adams, Observation Peak Trail.jpg
Sign for Sister Rocks Trail.jpg
From the Mt. Adams viewpoint, I took the Sister Rocks Trail up and over the two Sisters prominences, getting views to Mts. Hood, St. Helens, Rainier, and Adams. From the Second Sister, I did the 1 ¼ mile bushwhack down the ridge to intersect Road 58. This is a straightforward shot in a clear understory: Under the silver fir canopy, little will grow except baby silver firs. There are a few prominences on the ridge that can either be summited or circumvented to the left or right. Soon, I reached the stretch of old trail bench mentioned in Jack’s report of 2015. A little farther on, there was a good viewpoint to Mt. St. Helens on the right. Past the viewpoint, there were three mysterious pits, all the same size and equidistant from each other. They looked like tree throws, but there aren’t any large rotting logs near them!
First Sister, Sister Rocks.jpg
Heading down from the Second Sister, Sister Rocks.jpg
Trail tread, Sister Rocks Ridge.jpg
St. Helens from viewpoint on Sister Rocks Ridge.jpg
Pit #1, Sister Rocks Ridge.jpg
Pit #2, Sister Rocks Ridge.jpg
I reached Road 58 at the Upper Siouxon Trailhead, which is marked by a pullout, a small cairn, and a signless post just down the trail. It’s about ¾ mile down Road 58 to the 606 spur, which takes you into the Trapper Creek Wilderness. This abandoned spur road allows a shortcut into the wilderness. Part of the road bed is now a running stream, and there are large pools of water on the flat section. At the end of the road, an old trail, still maintained by volunteers, spins off to the right and winds around into the wilderness and old-growth forest. I crossed the famous boardwalk meadow and then two branches of Trapper Creek. There’s a cedar with its bark chopped and peeled, Native American-style, next to the trail.
Lake on FR 58, west of Trapper Creek Wilderness.jpg
On the 606 spur, west of Trapper Creek Wilderness.jpg
Beginning of the 606 spur, west of Trapper Creek Wilderness.jpg
Old growth forest, 606 Spur Trail, Trapper Creek Wilderness.jpg
Meadow boardwalk, 606 Spur Trail, Trapper Creek Wilderness.jpg
Crossing of Trapper Creek, 606 Spur Trail, Trapper Creek Wilderness.jpg
Peeled cedar, 606 Spur Trail, Trapper Creek Wilderness.jpg
The junction of the 606 Spur Trail with the Trapper Creek Trail is marked by two metal diamonds on a young silver fir. About 10 yards up the Trapper Creek Trail is a Basil Clark sign (Clark was the retired Mazama who fashioned homemade signs for the wilderness). I passed a couple more of Basil’s signs as I hiked up past the Rim Trail junction to Berry Camp and then back to the trailhead.
Trapper Creek Trail diamonds, 606 Spur Trail junction, Trapper Creek Wilderness.jpg
Basil Clark sign, 606 Spur Trail junction, Trapper Creek Wilderness.jpg
I started hiking at noon, so ran out of time. This loop is seven miles. You could add to it with diversions to Trapper Creek Falls and Observation Peak. An adventurous longer loop would take the Rim-Sunshine Trails to Observation, but be careful with the Rim Trail!

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drm
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Re: Sister Rocks-Trapper Creek Loop 10-30-17

Post by drm » November 2nd, 2017, 3:46 pm

I did the 606 trail some years ago (not knowing the # then) coming from the Soda Peaks Lake trailhead but lost the trail as it neared Trapper Ck. That was a midsummer trip so maybe the brush was thicker. But it certainly didn't seem to be maintained then, as there was thick brush on many sections, even if the footbed was identifiable.

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bobcat
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Location: SW Portland

Re: Sister Rocks-Trapper Creek Loop 10-30-17

Post by bobcat » November 3rd, 2017, 8:12 am

drm wrote:(not knowing the # then)
I'm calling it the 606 Spur Trail because it comes in from the abandoned 606 road spur off FR 58. In looking at old maps, I think this short connector was probably fashioned after road construction in the area in order to connect with the upper reaches of Trapper Creek, possibly to make trail construction/maintenance easier. On the old map, the abandoned Ridge Trail comes up from the south then bends west (where the Trapper Creek Trail now runs) to join the Observation Peak Trail. The 606 spur, however, starts just south of the lake on the map.

On the other hand, the abandoned trail on Sister Rocks' west ridge is obviously simply the east end of the Siouxon Trail where it ran up to connect with the Observation Peak Trail.
Old Sister Rocks map.png

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